With diminishing harvests, falling demand, and export supply which are hit by COVID-19 are damaging Pakistan’s mango industry. This has been a disastrous season for the producers of the prized fruit.
Farmers say that the change in rain patterns, long winter has reduced mango production up to 50% this year. The coronavirus has kindled the border restrictions and a twist in export costs.
“There are multiple problems that mango farmers are facing,” said Rana Muhammad Azim, whose family has been in this business in Punjab for generations.
“The situation is extremely worrisome for us. The mangoes are ready, but no exporter is willing to take the risk and place orders, we are already suffering from a 40 percent decline in the harvest.” He added.
In 2019 Pakistan was the sixth-largest exporter of the fruit in the world, with a record export of 115,000 tons of mango worth $80 million.
Exports have dropped around 40 percent compared to the same period last year, with just a few months left of the season, says Waheed Ahmed, head of a produce association in Pakistan.
The ‘king of fruits’, mango, originated in the Indian subcontinent with two dozen varieties grown in Pakistan. With unique flavor and juicy pulp, Chaunsa is the country’s most treasured variety.
Despite political climate between the hostile neighbors, mango helps sweeten diplomatic relations Pakistan sending crates of its best produce to India’s prime minister every year.
With much of the world’s air traffic grounded by the coronavirus, exports to the US and Europe have been particularly hard hit but ground transport has also been badly affected.